‘The Contributions of Franz Alexander’ in Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy – Habib Davanloo (1980)

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Samuel Eisenstein, Jason Aronson Inc. Press.,  

p. 29   “Alexander outlined the experiences involving the patient in brief psychotherapy – the intellectual awareness of how his behaviour is inappropriate and belongs to his past, as well as the emotional recognition that feelings are being experienced in therapy.  Here Alexander introduced a well-known principle of technique, one he felt applied to any form of psychotherapy:  namely the corrective emotional experience.  Without that, he felt, there is no psychotherapy to speak of.  Very briefly stated, he felt that the difference between the old childhood relationship with the parents and the present relationship between patient and therapist is the central therapeutic element in therapy.  The therapist’s reaction to the patient’s feelings in therapy is completely different from the reaction of the parents during the patient’s childhood.  He felt that the difference between these attitudes was the cornerstone of the changes that take place in psychotherapy or, for that matter, in psychoanalysis.  This difference allows the patient to understand the source of his conflicts.  What is more important, the patient becomes aware of the inappropriateness of his emotional experiences.  The ego of the patient is afforded a second chance, so to speak; it is helped to adapt to changed situations and to adjust to new and entirely different reality conditions.”

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